Endoplasmic reticulum calcium homeostasis is involved in several essential cell functions including cell proliferation, protein synthesis, stress responses or secretion. Calcium uptake into the endoplasmic reticulum is performed by Sarco/Endoplasmic Reticulum Calcium ATPases (SERCA enzymes). In order to study endoplasmic reticulum calcium homeostasis in situ in mammary tissue, in this work SERCA3 expression was investigated in normal breast and in its benign and malignant lesions in function of the cell type, degree of malignancy, and histological and molecular parameters of the tumors. Our data indicate, that although normal breast acinar epithelial cells express SERCA3 abundantly, its expression is strongly decreased already in very early non-malignant epithelial lesions such as adenosis, and remains low in lobular carcinomas. Whereas normal duct epithelium expresses significant amounts of SERCA3, its expression is decreased in several benign ductal lesions, as well as in ductal adenocarcinoma. The loss of SERCA3 expression is correlated with Elston-Ellis grade, negative hormone receptor expression or triple negative status in ductal carcinomas. The concordance between decreased SERCA3 expression and several histological, as well as molecular markers of ductal carcinogenesis indicates that endoplasmic reticulum calcium homeostasis is remodeled during tumorigenesis in the breast epithelium.
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